Interactive assembly performance by Quinteto Latino in the Ravenswood City School District. Photo Credit: Lisa Chung
With the vital support of our K-12 Programs Fund donors, Stanford Live met the needs of our community’s schools in 2022–23 in multiple ways. We were thrilled to return to live performances on the Stanford campus and continued to develop new approaches we introduced during the pandemic.
After a three-year wait, we once again welcomed schools to Bing Concert Hall. We saw strong attendance at the four matinees, with audiences at an average of 88% of capacity. We donated 38% of tickets to Title 1 schools, along with full subsidies for bus expenses.
We launched our season on January 26 with our first live student matinee in three years. Third Coast Percussion performed their “Think Outside the Drum” program to over 700 students and teachers, introducing core elements of music such as melody and rhythm with the audience clapping, singing, and moving along. In February we welcomed New York-based jazz education organization JazzReach for the first time. Their program Jean-Michel and the Be-Bop Kings combined live jazz, projections, and narration to highlight the ways in which the great painter Jean-Michel Basquiat drew inspiration from jazz giants such as Dizzy Gillespie and celebrated them in his paintings. Members of JazzReach also coached jazz ensembles at Cesar Chavez Ravenswood Middle School and Gunn High School in Palo Alto. The teachers at both sites praised the group for bringing out improvement in students’ playing and sense of ensemble.
We followed this with a sold-out performance by the Queen’s Cartoonists, a stellar group of musicians who combine jazz, classical, and film music to accompany cartoons drawn from over a century of animation, adding in their own onstage gags for a unique and joyful audience experience. We were excited to see this performance support our partnership with the Ravenswood schools, with the district’s Belle Haven Elementary bringing their entire student body to the performance.
Students entering for the JazzReach student matinee performance in Bing Concert Hall. Photo Credit: Nikolas Liepins
We closed the season with Vanessa Vân-Ánh Võ’s Mekong: Life. The Vietnamese-American composer and multi-instrumentalist brought together Bay Area-based artists from Cambodia, Laos and Thailand in a music and video production celebrating the cultures of the Mekong Delta region and examining its current environmental challenges. One teacher shared, “The quality of this performance was so amazing, and I absolutely loved the relevance of the topic. Having such a high-quality artistic performance that not only spoke to a topic of huge importance but also exposed students to a variety of new instruments and musical genres was brilliant. I have a student whose family is Vietnamese and one whose family is Cambodian. They were especially thrilled with the experience. The chance for them to see their identities validated in such a profoundly beautiful way was so appreciated. Thank you so much!”
We continued the practice we began during the pandemic of having artists perform at school sites, with the Australian Chamber Orchestra visiting Abraham Lincoln High School in San Jose. Performing in the school’s black box theater for 150 music students, the orchestra gave the premiere of the “Sounds of Australia” program they’ve developed for school audiences, featuring all Australian composers and photo and video projections of scenes from across the continent. A highlight was the playing of guest didgeridoo virtuoso William Barton, who also shared photos of Indigenous Australian life and discussed the importance of the didgeridoo in his culture.
Our extensive professional development series touched on a broad variety of art forms and included a special arts and healing series. A memorable session was teaching artist Manolo Davila’s “Fundamental Rhythms.” Davila taught several Afro-Latin rhythms, then demonstrated how to turn used five-gallon jugs from water coolers into drums, and then paint them as an environmentally-focused classroom project. The teachers demonstrated wonderful creativity in their painting and several spoke of leaving energized and inspired.
Whenever possible, we ask matinee performers to lead workshops, supporting the links between teacher trainings and the performance experience. Hans Schuman and Wayne Escoffery of JazzReach led an online session covering jazz history and music as a medium of communication. Vanessa Vân-Ánh Võ led a wonderfully engaging session in which she introduced a variety of Vietnamese instruments and invited teachers to try them out, discussed the role of music in Vietnamese culture, sampled her research on the Mekong Delta, and shared her own story of developing as an artist and immigrating to the U.S.
Creative Compassionate Classrooms Teacher Workshop led by Michelle Holdt in Bing Studio. Photo Credits: Joel Simon
In response to feedback from teachers noting their continued need to respond to the trauma of the pandemic, and in keeping with our season theme of Place and Healing, we offered a separate workshop track, Creative Compassionate Classrooms.
Nationally recognized arts educator Michelle Holdt led two of the five workshops, “Creative Compassionate Classroms” and “Arts-Integerated Healing,” and co-curated the series, which reached over 60 educators. Michelle also led a series of monthly drop-in sessions online, in which teachers reviewed workshop trainings and discussed their own progress and challenges. This extended both the learning and the community building that grew out of the workshops.
Other workshops in the series included educator and children’s book author Andrew Nance leading a session on the arts and mindfulness; “Creating a Cultura of Comunidad in the Classroom,” led by mediation expert and UC Davis faculty member Alejandro Vilchez; and an online session led by colleagues from UCLArts and Healing, our first-ever collaboration with this organization.
For the third consecutive year, we collaborated with the San Mateo County Office of Education on their annual online Arts as Life! conference. The day of professional learning featured over 30 workshops encompassing music, dance, theater, visual art, and media arts, and reached teachers statewide.
We continued our longstanding residency in the Ravenswood City School District with teaching artists Quinteto Latino. As we have since 2016, we provided individualized coaching and professional development for the music teachers, as well as guest- and co-teaching classes and leading creative projects for students. After much turnover in the district, we were fortunate to partner with a cadre of returning music teachers with whom we had worked in previous school years.
Andrew Nance leading a Mindful Arts Teacher Workshop in Bing Studio. Photo Credit: Joel Simon
The sense of community and degree of trust we have built with them help us to develop individualized approaches for teachers and respond to specific needs. Lead teaching artist Armando Castellano was invited to lead two professional development session for the full music teaching staff, the first with a community building focus and the second on teaching music to English Language Learners. We added a new teaching artist to coach choral groups, and French Horn player Cathleen Torres returned for a second year to coach middle school brass students.
We closed the year on a celebratory note with interactive assembly performances by Quinteto Latino at all four district schools. We typically hold programs only during the school year, but will expand to continue daily teaching artist sessions at two district summer school sites, in partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs.
Program Metrics and Evaluation
Our program metrics demonstrated many positive results, including our baseline measures below:
- Total students served: 2,570 (59% increase from FY22, 45% increase over 3-year prior average of 1,770, reflecting return to in-person performances)
- Total program hours: 113.5 (7% increase from FY22, 40% increase from 3-year prior average of 80.8)
- Net promoter score: When participants were asked “With 10 being ‘extremely likely’ and 1 being ‘not at all likely,’ how likely are you to recommend Stanford Live’s K-12 programs to fellow educators?” the average response was 9.7.
- The average score on “How likely are you to use this training in your teaching” from teacher workshop surveys: 80% were very likely (highest rating); 20% were “somewhat likely.”
In addition, 80% of participating teachers rated their overall workshop experience as excellent, 10% rated them as very good, and 10% rated them as good.